When I was watching the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight Saturday night, I felt like I was watching my favorite hockey team blow a 5-3 lead in the third period by backing off and watching the clock after having played so well throughout the game.
When Pacquiao and Marquez met the first time on May 8, 2004 in Las Vegas, NV, they fought a war and the fight was scored a 12-round draw. In their second bout, on Mar. 15, 2008 in Las Vegas, Pacquiao was awarded a controversial split decision. In their third bout on Saturday, Pacquiao again won, this time by majority decision. Certain fighters give other certain fighters a hard time. It’s as if someone has your number, so to speak. I think Marquez has Pacquiao’s number and will always give him a tough fight.
When Shane Mosley boxed Pacquiao earlier this year, he exposed Pacquiao in ways that few fans expected. Mosley fought defensively that night and even though Pacquiao won, he looked uncomfortable.
The third bout between Marquez and Pacquiao was unlike their first two brawls. Did Mosley’s exposure of Pacquiao cause this fight to be less of a brawl? Marquez fought a more defensive fight and Pacquiao, perhaps not expecting this, clearly could not adapt.
I love defensive fighters, but there is a catch. A defensive fighter has to be flashy and possess some aggressive tendencies or the judges seem to overlook him.
Marquez’ trainer made the mistake in telling him he was ahead on the scorecards as the fight was winding down. Fighters should never be told where they stand on the scorecards—or where their trainer thinks they stand. A fighter should start each round thinking the fight is even and each round a necessity. When fighters are told they are ahead in the scoring they tend to slack off, get lazy, or stop taking risks and that can be dangerous.
On Saturday night, Pacquiao entered the ring as a champion, but he did not look good even though he was the aggressor. This may have been simply an off night for Pacquiao–he did not do enough to convince anyone he was the better fighter that night, let alone in their first two meetings. Marquez made the mistake of taking his foot off the pedal in the last three rounds, allowing Pacquiao to steal the fight. It was a rookie mistake by an experienced fighter.
As for Pacquiao, he must understand that every fight should be treated the same–no single fight is more important than another. Once fighters start thinking they don’t need to train as hard mentally for certain fights, that is when no-name fighters steal the thunder. We Philadelphians know how to cheer on the underdog and the fact that Marquez was the underdog–though hardly a no-name fighter–and looked so good could be part of the reason people thought he was robbed.
I scored the fight even, giving Pacquiao the last three rounds. After watching the fight a second time, I again scored it a draw. I cannot complain that Pacquiao was awarded the fight even though I would have preferred a decision in Marquez’ favor.
Marquez fought great and looked like a champion. Pacquiao didn’t give up his heart, stayed close in the fight and you could tell he had something to prove. It was as if Pacquiao was the young lion who was out-schooled by the teacher, but later out-worked him in the last three rounds to steal the fight. As a fight fan, I have to respect that Pacquiao could have given up, but instead he worked hard enough to change the outcome in his favor.
Wilson vs. Mussachio on Saturday
Garrett Wilson, of South Philadelphia, risks his USBA cruiserweight title Saturday in a 12-round title defense against Chuck Mussachio, of Wildwood, NJ, at Bally’s Atlantic City. On paper, people could question why Wilson should even be fighting Mussachio. Wilson is 10-5-1, 4 K0s, and Mussachio is 17-1-2 , 5K0s, but take a look at their resume and you will see Wilson’s is more appealing, stepping up and taking risk after risk. This will make for an exciting fight as both men come to fight.
The co-feature looks solid as welterweight Ronald Cruz, of Bethlehem PA, who is 14-0, 11 K0s, takes on Anges Adjaho, of Buffalo, NY, who is 17-6, 9 K0s. Cruz is up-and-coming and he is taking more risks as time goes on. He is known for his brutal body shots and hopefully he will continue to impress on Saturday.
Also on Saturday’s undercard are heavyweight Bryant Jennings (10-0, 4 K0s), welterweight DeCarlo Perez (5-1-1, 2 K0s), middleweight Antowyan Aikens (2-0, 1 K0) and junior welterweight Naim Nelson (2-0). I am looking forward to seeing these fighters test themselves.
Brittany Rogers contributes the BAM on Boxing column to PSC. You can also check her out, as well as everything else you need to know on Philly boxing, at PeltzBoxing.com. Follow Brittany on Twitter @bamonboxing and Peltz Boxing @PeltzBoxing.